Acknowledgements Pub

If it wasn't for the CSCF, I would never be started on a quest to become a better skier. If it wasn't for the PMTS, it would have taken a lot longer to become a better skier. If it wasn't for the epicski forum, I would never have evolved past my misunderstandings. If it wasn't for the many authors of the many books and DVDs and YouTube videos of instruction, I would not be here.

The sources for my learning are many and each plays a role. Here are some of the more important ones, in a somewhat chronological order.

  • CSCF - Canadian Ski Coaches Federation - progressing through their race coaching ranks and masters training. They're responsible to get me "hooked" to skiing and ski racing.
  • Greg Gurshman - a lot of race technique articles published - learned a lot from his articles, as the CSCF really has very little material on technique and nothing on tactics.
  • Harald Harb and PMTS - Primary Movements Teaching System - many books and DVDs on high performance ski technique and teaching it. Helped me understand the detailed biomechanics of great expert skiing.
  • HeluvaSkier - Seeing is believing. Learned a lot from him, especially helping me realize the extreme range of motion required for performance skiing and dipping into the deepest understanding of the relantionships and biomechanics of high performance skiing of anyone I ever talked to.
  • USSA - a lot of race coaching material available
  • EpicSki Forum (defunct) and PugSki forum - many discussions on ski technique and instruction with a group of passionate people from different organizations. EpicSki was killed by the Vail Corp or a branch thereof and the entire content destroyed by them (as in deleted and no longer available).
  • Various authors of tens of books and videos on skiing
  • Various mentors, coaches, instructors and racers, with their guidance and feedback.
  • Various high-performance free skiers that post videos and technique thoughts on youtube and elsewhere.
  • The many members here, which support me in running and maintaining this website, especially by making good use of it.

Books

There is a lot of information online these days, but there are still a few books that provide a humongous amount of understanding. If you are to buy and read books on skiing, consider these two:

Warren's book exposed the best approach to performance skiing, clearly identifying the focus on using the lower body, with an emphasis on edging and carving, that all racers and performance skiers have. Pages 13-15-17 contain perhaps the most important message for those interested in performance skiing: focus on the lower body and relax.

Harald's book, almost 40 years later, based on a thorough understanding of biomechanics, updates and clarifies the technical foundation for modern equipment (skis and boots), which require even less effort and more subtle movements than the older equipment, putting performance skiing within easy reach of any recreational skier.

Organizations

Here is a quick summary of a few ski teaching systems I took a closer look at. Note that most of these not only have very detailed technical instruction material and progressions, but these are updated every now and then and sometimes re-written from scratch.

As such, my attempt at summarizing them here may not have captured those details properly and may already be out of date.

CSCF

Uses a brief, descriptive framework of movements, technical skills (edging, steering, angulation, separation, coiling, carving the outside ski), tactics and biomechanics. It describes the results and purpose of movements, but it does not prescribe the exact movements to make.

References the Planes of motion as a framework to categorize movements in fore/aft, lateral, vertical and rotational as well as an evaluation framework, but does not get into the details of the specific movements, simply referencing the anatomical terms of motion.

Phases of the turn are: release/unloading, edging and loading. In the newer versions there are just two: transition and execution.

Biomechanics principles include force, impulse, direction and angular momentum.

CSIA

Based on pivoting, edging and separation. Each turn is a combination of more or less pivoting and edging.

Separation creates angulation and counter is a result of turning the lower body, pivoting the femurs being a focus.

Steering is the main skill and it is a skill to blend pivoting and edging to get the desired turn shape.

Update

CSIA has recently (as of 2016) re-written the technical reference and now it revolves around four guiding principles10:

  • use of all joints, to maintain balance and manage the forces
  • turning is led by the lower body and the ski design
  • lower and upper body separation allows for angulation to provide grip
  • coordinated movement patterns

PSIA

Based on a set of skills BERP (Balance, Edging, Rotary and Pressure). These skills span across the planes of movement and biomechanics - "inventories and categorizes everything we can do that effects going left and right on a pair of skis".9

The phases of the turn are "initiation", "shaping" and "finish".

NZSIA

Movement-oriented, Uses the Planes of motion movement framework, as well as the BERP skills (Balance, Edging, Rotary and Pressure) and DIRT tactics (Duration, Intensity, Rate and Timing).

There is a focus on pivoting and steering.

The differences stem from the fact that it is focused on movements along the planes of motion, which tends to make the descriptions more specific. So, for instance angulation is a well defined lateral movement, while for say CSIA, it is not a movement... but a geometrical relationship, i.e. it can be also the result of a forward bend at the hips with counter.

USSA

Uses the BERP skills framework like PSIA. The SkillsQuest program organizes drills and assessments into the same skills.

PMTS

Concise movement-oriented system:

  • The primary movements:
    • tipping - tipping the skis on edge
    • flex/extend - to engage/release, manage pressure.
    • fore/aft - managing fore/aft pressure/stance on the skis
  • The secondary movements
    • counterbalancing - lateral angulation at the hip
    • counteracting - coiling
    • pole plants etc

Phases of the turn: "transition", "high C", "apex", "low C".

While the others focus on "turning the legs under a stable upper body", here the upper body is not described as a static but a very dynamic part of the body, the "still" appearance of the upper body resulting from counterbalancing and counteracting, which are strong upper body movements to counter the actions of the lower body.

Harald Harb has single-handedly created more value in the ski instruction and teaching domain, than all north american ski teaching and coaching organizations combined. See links to his books and videos below.

Commonalities

While these systems differ on progressions and even technique (strong focus on pivoting for some, descriptive vs prescriptive for others), many agree on many fundamental movements of skiing... some of the common notions to look for include:

  • flexing/extending the legs and ankles. Flexing used for unweighting and weight transfer.
    • some also use extending for weight transfer (pushing)
  • tipping or edging or rolling the skis on edge (from the ankles), with inversion/eversion of the foot
  • separating the lower and upper body movements
  • using the upper body for balance in all planes, via angulation (counterbalancing) and separation (counter, counter-rotation, counteraction)
  • pole plants
  • etc

There are also many differences in they way they approach instruction and introduce the concepts.

To read more thoughts on these, see:

References:

Here are the main sources quoted and references throughout this website:

Although most of the knowledge reflected here came over many years, from many sources, on-snow sessions and clinics and a lot of experimentation, here are some of the books and videos that contributed significantly to our knowledge, as well as some of the most influential skiers.

Technique and biomechanics

Learning

Others

Videos

There are many, many great videos on skiing, but I felt these deserve special mention:

Skiers

div.later


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By: Razie | 2015-07-28 .. 2024-01-20 | Tags: intro , improve-skiing


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